150th Annual Zucchini Festival

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Photo supplied.
Every spring the previous winter’s harvest of zucchinis would be floated via Canada’s turbulent
waterways from our great zucchini forests in the north to mills where they would be cut into filets and shipped around the world.

Amidst the hubbub surrounding Canada’s sesquicentennial, it would be easy to forget that 2017 also marks the 150th anniversary of the first Millbrook Zucchini Festival.

This year’s festival, which will take place on September 10, 2017 along the sunny shores of Baxter Creek, commemorates that momentous occasion, 150 years ago, when a group of visionary farmers met in Millbrook to discuss the dubious future of the much-maligned zucchini in our fledgling township.

It was determined at that historic meeting that the best way to preserve and promote our weird zucchini heritage would be to host an annual festival. The festival, they decided, would honour a heritage that dated back to early colonial times when giant zucchini canoes piled high with pelts plied the lakes and waterways of British North America in support of the European’s insatiable need for furs. This tradition continued with the great zucchini drives of the 1800’s when the Canadian zucchinis were used to build the great sailing ships that gave Britain dominance over the world.

Photo supplied.
Zucchinis helped build the Canada we know as evidenced here by their presence at that seminal event, the driving in of the last spike in Canada’s coast to coast railroad. A little known alternate fact is that the railroad was built primarily to facilitate the transport of zucchinis.

Little did our forefathers imagine that their festival would continue uninterrupted for the next 150 years, growing from hosting the more traditional zucchini events like the zucchini toss and zucchini wrestling to the current fun-filled day of zucchini carving, boat races in the creek, cooking contests, zucchini bobbing, and zucchini poetry and song.

Events planned for this year’s sesquicentennial include, well, pretty much the same things as the festival has done in the past. However, a very special tribute is being planned to mark this special occasion. And if you’re guessing a Giant Rubber Zucchini in the Millbrook pond, you might be on the right track.

Zucchinifest 2017 will be held on the sunny shores of Baxter Creek, opposite the arena and will run from 12:30 to 4 p.m., with boat races at 2 p.m. sharp (carving table closes down at 1:45). Check the festival website at https://millbrookzucchinifest.blogspot.ca for a full and up to the minute rundown of planned events as the day’s schedule evolves.

By Bill Slavin

 

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